Update on Disclosure Issues & the Ferry Lease

John Stark, writing for the Bellingham Herald’s Politics Blog, requested clarification from county government on language in the ferry agreement that appears to put some level of restriction on what county officials can tell the public.  To read County Council President Sam Crawford’s response, as well as Mr. Stark’s comments, click on the link below:  

Read more: http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics/politics/countys-attorney-says-ferry-deal-wont-change-countys-disclosure-philosophy/#ixzz1RZDl1APT

4 thoughts on “Update on Disclosure Issues & the Ferry Lease

  1. First off, I think the lease is a ‘done deal’ when it gets to a vote, but there are a couple of things really wrong with this, well more than a couple, but don’t get me started.
    1. From out of left field, we’re finding out the Lummi Nation, and anyone with any sort of affiliation with the tribe can cross on the ferry as much as they want to – FREE OF CHARGE. It used to be for walk ons only, and only for tribal business. Now it’s written as both walk ons and vehicles (car, truck, boats, minivans, tour buses??: who knows what) That’s a huge concession, with no discussion or thought about the implications of such an agreement. Why should Lummi Nation get free passage all the time for anything they want, then pass the cost on to us. We’re already paying far in excess for a lease than the market rate.
    This is a deal breaker in my book. The council should reject this lease, and go back to the table.
    2. Someone much smarter than me has checked the math on the inflation formula. It’s ‘bad math’, and could result in massive increases in lease payments if inflation ever gets a hold, and it will – trust me, our economy is at the tipping point for massive inflationary times to deal with the national debt problem.
    I’m not an economist, but somebody needs to run the numbers.
    The best deal to walk away from is a bad one. This one stinks!

    • Correction: the agreement says non commercial vehicles, so nix the tour buses and maybe even pickups as they have commercial plates.

      • Yeah, Mike, I totally agree the free passage clause is a deal breaker. Don’t forget that the tribe owns the old Hawley’s Marina, and if they develop that into a usuable boating facility, it will have better access to the fishing grounds for their growing fleet than the Gooseberry area. Imagine dozens of trucks and boat trailers riding for free. Are the kids going to be able to ride back and forth in summer and dive off the dock as they do now on the Reservation side? Who will we call for law enforcement? Lummi Law has been very helpful in keeping order on the Gooseberry dock, but they will have no juristiction on the Island. Will we now need a security guard for the Island parking lot?

  2. The same section of the lease guarantees free passage to all employees of the Lummi Nation. That means that county residents (including islanders) who are employed by the Lummi Nation get free rides, too. Then there’s the challenge of checking for tribal IDs… maybe the crew should get a raise for the extra work.

    Aren’t we having enough trouble paying enough fares to cover operating costs? Bad idea, poorly thought through. Worth challenging, I think, even if the agreement/lease does tell We the People (mere citizens) that we have absolutely no rights (except in final meaningless public comment) to ‘interfere’ with the current or any future agreements.

    If even one islander had been included in the negotiations, all the problems with this provision could have been avoided. I can imagine several alternatives, including ‘free’ punch cards given annually to tribal officials to loan out to members who want free passage, for example.

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